What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is about being aware of your eating experience – being aware of your food choices, your reasons for eating and knowing when to stop eating. It’s about being conscious of where your food is coming from, where and how it was made. Mindful eating also includes becoming aware of your own thoughts and actions and how they relate to food and eating.

I used mindful eating to lose more than 20 kilograms many years ago, before I even knew the term ‘mindful eating’. I simply started to listen to my body, my hungry and full signals. I started to note when I was using food for comfort and when I was eating to over-full. I also stopped judging – myself and my food. I became aware of how often that critical voice was taunting me, telling me what I should and shouldn’t eat, telling me I was fat and ugly, stressing me out, making me eat more.

There are many different techniques used in mindful eating. Some might work for you, others not. However, the overall principles remain the same, no matter which of the techniques you decide to use.

These principles are:

1. Non-judging – not judging yourself, your body or the food you put into it;

2. Patience – allowing yourself time, knowing that by learning the right principles, you will lose the weight and keep it off forever;

3. Beginner’s Mind – seeing your surroundings, including your food, as if for the first time and appreciating it as such;

4. Trust – learning to trust the innate wisdom of your body, not a diet, to tell you when to eat the perfect type and quantity of food to maintain a heathy weight;

5. Non-striving – not living in the future, putting off doing something until you are the perfect weight;

6. Acceptancemaking peace with where you are in your life right now, no matter your weight and circumstances;

7. Non-attachment – not focusing on the outcomes of a particular practice or way of eating, just enjoying the journey.

If you look at a child’s eating, you will realise that we are all mindful eaters naturally, until we get conditioned to eat certain foods at certain times, often whether we’re hungry or not. How do we get so out of touch? Why do we start to put on weight? I explore this in my post – Why do we put on weight?

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